Clark Design Group will seek early design guidance on a 51-unit project at 4035 Stone Way tonight (October 17th). Four of the units would be live/work and the first floor would include retail. The developer plans 31 below-grade parking stalls.

The site is just north of (Clark Design Group)
The site is just north of Stone Soup Theater. (Clark Design Group)

One of the issues that will come up—partially because it always comes up—but also because this time it’s actually germane is parking. Parking in itself isn’t supposed to be a topic for design reviews to consider but it can be addressed indirectly through the design of the driveway and garage bay. Clark Design Group is seeking a driveway slope code departure to build a larger underground parking ramp with access on N 41th St. Code stipulates a 15% grade but the preferred scheme seeks a departure for a 20% grade to accommodate more parking stalls. With developers frequently overbuilding parking, it’s not clear that a code departure would really be necessary to squeeze in more stalls.

On the other hand, the developer seemed to threaten to build the driveway on Stone Way (which is code compliant though not a best practice) if it doesn’t get its departure. The board might acquiesce to avoid that outcome. Driveways on arterials interfere with both foot traffic, degrade the active qualities of ground floor uses, and create more conflicts points for bicyclists and motorists so the Seattle Department of Transportation recommends against them. Clark Design Group argues putting the driveway as far as possible from the intersection puts it at the spot with the largest elevation difference justifying the departure in their eyes. Hopefully, the developer realizes a lower parking ratio than the 0.61 proposed is the best outcome, anyway, and comes back with a better parking proposal.

Several mixed-use projects are in the works along Stone Way, including the 4201 Stone Way project I recently covered. The Bowman building at 3801 Stone Way also opened a few months back, bringing 278 apartments to market, and is already more than 60 percent leased. Meanwhile, a 128-unit apartment building is nearing completion at 3627 Stone Way. My full 2015 write-up on Stone Way development is here.

The preferred massing scheme places the lobby in the corner. (Clark Design Group)
The preferred massing scheme places the lobby to the street corner. (Clark Design Group)

The 6:30pm design review meeting will take place at the Good Shepherd Center. Carly Guillory is the planner assigned to the project. Comments can also be submitted to her by email at

Following the 4035 Stone Way review, the Northeast Design Review Board will give early design guidance on a 52-apartment project at 4710 20th Ave NE. The building would replace a vacant lot in a LR3 zone, and architects plan to attain 4-star Built Green certification to boost the floor area ratio (FAR) to 2.0. The location just within the current boundaries of the U District Urban Center means no automobile parking is required and none is proposed. A secured bicycle storage room is planned to supplement the vehicular needs of future residents.

The four story building would contain 52 apartments. ( )
The four-story building would contain 52 apartments. (S+H Works)

Also happening tonight: Northwest Design Review Board will consider recommending a project 5512 17th Ave NW with 80 small efficiency dwelling units, nine apartments,  two live/work units, and ground-level retail. Architects propose no parking which is quite justified just a couple blocks from a current RapidRide D stop and a future light rail station (with passage of ST3). That 6:30pm meeting will take place at Ballard Community Center.

The site is currently occupied by a two story office building and a surface parking lot. (Caron Architecture)
The site is currently occupied by a two-story office building and a surface parking lot. Next door another seven-story mixed-use building is under construction. (Caron Architecture)
The 7 story building would mostly contain SEDUs. (Caron Architecture)
The seven-story building would mostly contain SEDUs. (Caron Architecture)

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Doug Trumm is The Urbanist's Executive Director. An Urbanist writer since 2015, he dreams of pedestrianizing streets, blanketing the city in bus lanes, and unleashing a mass timber building spree to end the affordable housing shortage and avert our coming climate catastrophe. He graduated from the Evans School of Public Policy and Governance at the University of Washington. He lives in East Fremont and loves to explore the city on his bike.

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Bryan Kirschner

Thanks for all the great coverage of Stone Way. Having lived near 50th & Stone for 13+ years, the whole corridor from 50th to Lake Union along Stone has got to be one of the city’s bright spots in terms of net housing and job growth near transit.